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Doomcult : Life Must End

Netherlands-based Death/Doom solo project Doomcult strike some serious gold with their sophomore full-length release.

Doomcult is a relatively new project having begun in 2014. It is helmed by one man, J.G. Arts, who does all of the writing, performs all of the instruments, and does the recording. 'Life Must End' is the second full-length release following 2016's 'End All Life'. Contained within, is a sound that is achieved with a prodigious amount of dynamics. One could call it organic as such. Compared to other one-man bands, this is genuinely successful in that I was honestly fooled into thinking this was a band comprised of multiple members. Perhaps that is the most generous testament to Mr. Arts' musical appreciation and artistic vision. It would be interesting to pick his brain, in fact, on how he approaches the songwriting to create such a convincing sound.

The guitar sound is extremely fulfilling. It is devoid of mud or too much gain. The rhythm guitar is close to Iommi while the lead is effected by delay and massive reverb. One could also compare the guitar sound to that of John Christ's on the first two Danzig records in that it is very much alive, rich, and full of dynamics. Naturally, the tempo is slow, but it does have a bit of a swing with a solid backbeat and the occasional use of toms and tasteful double bass. The harmonies constructed are vibrant especially the way they play off each other with so much analog delay being used (possibly an MXR Carbon Copy?). The chord selections, as made up by the sum of the guitars and bass, are broad and give the songs a wide dimension of space.

There is definitely an old school vibe created by a man that is obviously committed to the genre. Every note and beat are perfectly executed with deft precision. There are moments meant to register within the listener's brain such as in the second track, 'Sulphur,' when Lucifer is referred to as "she". 'King of Bones', the fourth track, contains an enjoyable crescendo that could best be described as methodical. At the climax, the sound reverts back to the slower, plodding, determined original tempo, a classic Doom denouement. The fifth track, 'Ashes,' has a catchy old school riff that pervades throughout giving it a feeling of anticipation. The interplay between the up-tempo riff and the slower more Doom one is what makes the song work.

Vocally, there is a narrative-like quality. Often, the songs feel as if they are being sung by an elderly bard spinning a carefully-structured web of story. In tone, the vocals are reminiscent of Lee Dorrian and his animated style. At times, it feels like the singer is at odds with the instruments. Sometimes he follows and sometimes not. It certainly mixes things up and creates a unique vibe.

The last song, 'Deathwish,' is the banner-waving final thrust. With good headphones, one can truly experience and feel the intense spatial effect, ultimately feeling surrounded by the music. The latter section in the song with the choir/keyboard and double bass is the ultimate climax for the album, and the ending is truly haunting proclaiming "life must end". There is surely an air of depression, loneliness, despair, solitude, and hopelessness throughout. It must be said that this is an album that while certainly being dark and brooding is also not for listening as background music for it demands attention. After listening to the full album and absorbing the material, it becomes clearer to discern the direction taken. It would be truly interesting to hear the material played by a recruited live band in a concert setting with cranked amps. Perhaps that will come to pass.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Suffering
2. Sulphur
3. Black Fire
4. King of Bones
5. Ashes
6. Inferno
7. Deathwish

Duration : Approx. 50 minutes

Visit the Doomcult bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-02-18 by Chris Hawkins
Rotten Copper
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